Beach Campground Highlights
Beneath a stretch of the Pacific Ocean in San Diego’s northern reaches sits South Carlsbad State Beach Campground, a by-reservation campsite catering to the sun-soaked whims of swimmers, surfers, kayakers, and anglers alike, among others.
Somewhat isolated off I-5 on Carlsbad’s south side, the beach campground does not offer much in terms of on-site attractions or recreational facilities. Rather, the draw here is the windswept vistas and well-kept shoreline, far away from the pesky crowds of larger, free beaches elsewhere.
The park’s campgrounds are perched several dozen steps above South Carlsbad State Beach, offering stunning ocean views and the relaxing melody of crashing waves to campers high atop the coastal bluffs. The area’s shrubbery offers a modicum of privacy from neighboring campers, particularly for those in tents.
Stairs from campground to the beach are now accessible.A route from the Ponto Picnic Area to the beach is also accessible. Parking in the day use area is accessible. A beach wheelchair is available. Call (760) 753-5091 for information.
Each campsite comes with a fire pit, picnic table, parking for up to 3 vehicles (trailers count as vehicles), and access to paid laundry, shower, and AT&T Wi-Fi amenities. South Carlsbad State Beach Campground is a dry-campground, meaning no vehicle hook-ups are available – nearby dumping stations handle stored waste water and sewage removal.
Most camping sites are paved, level, spacious and have accessibly designed tables. Paved tent spaces do not allow use of stakes. Restrooms with showers are accessible, including adjacent parking. A campfire center is accessibly designed.
Camp Store/Park Office
Store, office, laundry and vending machines are now accessible with accessible parking.
Picnic tables, fire grills, piped water, flush toilets, showers and a dump station are available. Some facilities are wheelchair accessible and supplies and laundry facilities are available in Carlsbad. Leashed pets are permitted.
- ADA Access
- Backpacking Camping
- Comfort Station
- Dump Station
- Ranger Station
- Store – Convenience
Nearby Amenities and Attractions
For beachgoers unable or uninterested in sleeping out under the stars, lodging is available at a number of local hotels and motels within a few minutes’ drive away.
Surf lessons are available from a selection of locally-based academies and instructors. Nearby trails offer hiking and biking opportunities for those preferring to stay dry. Pets must be kept on a leash at all times and are prohibited from the beach itself.
Day visitors and overnight guests would do well to stock up on supplies ahead of their visit. While a camp store at the entrance covers the basics of firewood, boogie boards, and fishing gear from March to October, the surrounding area is predominantly residential, with retail establishments, restaurants, and convenience stores largely outside of walking distance for any additional needs. Don’t forget to bring your own soap and towels for the restrooms.
South Carlsbad State Beach Campground is part of the California Department of Parks and Recreation. Campground reservations are available at anytime online through www.parks.ca.gov, or by contacting the ReserveAmerica Call Center at (800) 444-7275 during select hours. Campsites can fill up quickly several months in advance, especially during peak season for those overlooking the ocean, so plan your trip ahead of time. For further beach details or hours, call the park office at (760) 438-3143.
- Reservations available year round.
- Fees includes entry for 1 vehicle and one legally towed vehicle or trailer. Additional vehicles must register and pay additional fees.
- As of 05-01-07 SHOWERS – token only; NO quarters accepted. Tokens available upon check-in. Token machines located at ranger station and campfire center.
- Campers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent, or provide, upon arrival, a letter from a parent granting permission to camp. All juveniles must be in their own campsite after 10pm.
- Quiet hours are 10 pm – 6 am.
- Visitors not staying overnight must be out by 10 pm.
- Generator hours are from 10 am to 8 pm.
- Campsite is limited to 8 people maximum and is designed for individual family use. Large groups require a special event permit.
- Take precautions to prevent theft by securing property, such as surfboards, bikes, and ice chests.
- Campsite is limited to 3 vehicles. There is no parking for more vehicles. A trailer is counted as a vehicle. Park out of roadway behind site number to allow emergency vehicle access.
- Animals must be on a leash less than 6 feet at all times, may not be left outside at night, and are prohibited on the beach.
- Alcohol and glass containers are NOT allowed on the beach or beyond your campsite.
- All Park plants are protected. Do not cut or attach items, such as ropes, to any plants.
- Maximum stay during High Season (March – November) is SEVEN nights. All persons and equipment must vacate for a minimum of 48 hours before beginning another stay.
- Park Road separates Oceanfront (premium) sites from Inland sites.
- Ocean sites are on a bluff overlooking beach. Stairs to beach. Sites have no shade.
- Kiosk hours: Hi season 7 am – 10 pm; Lo season 7 am – 8 pm.